Carl Maria von Weber – Great Youth Mass in E flat major
(b. Eutin, North Germany, 18. November 1786 – d. London, 6. May 1826)
for soli, mixed choir, orchestra and organ
Agnus Dei p.60
Carl Maria von Weber was a key figure in German romantic music. He was born in Eutin in North Germany, but his family led a wandering life during his childhood and youth as his father, a violinist and music director, moved around frequently. Young Weber had a problem with his hip and was late walking. His brother and sister died in infancy and his mother when he was eleven. His cousin Constanze, the daughter of his father’s half-brother, was Mozart’s wife. Weber was musically precocious, both as a pianist and as a composer, and wrote his first opera when he was fourteen. He became music director of the Breslau opera when he was seventeen, and thereafter took a variety of musical positions, culminating in the directorship of the Dresden opera, which he held from 1817 to his death from tuberculosis in 1826.
Weber was a prolific composer in a variety of fields. First and foremost he was an opera composer. Der Freischütz (1821) was a sensational success and was soon performed all over Europe. It is considered the first German romantic opera. Its successors Euryanthe (1823) and Oberon (1826), though equally successful musically, both suffer from poor libretti and so are only occasionally revived. Orchestral works include two symphonies (both 1807), two piano concertos (1810 and 1812) and a Konzertstück for piano and orchestra (1821). Weber had a particular liking for the clarinet, for which he composed a number of works, including two concertos and a Concertino (all 1811) and some chamber works. Piano music includes four sonatas and Aufforderung zum Tanz (Invitation to the Dance) (1819), which was orchestrated by Berlioz for insertion into the Parisian production of Der Freischütz, to accompany a ballet. In this form it has become a popular concert work. …
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